In the last year, Walmart employees have been striking against their employer because of low wages and dwindling hours. In response, the company has fired some of these employees and disciplined others in apparent retaliation, however, a labor group has ruled that this pushback by the company was illegal.
The National Labor Relations Board will pursue prosecution against Walmart for attempting to gag over 117 employees. The national, union-backed Walmart employee advocacy group, OUR Walmart, announced rallies at several stores would happen last Black Friday. Strikes are legal, yet Walmart still threatened retaliation workers who would participate in the protest. David Tovar, Walmart spokesman, warned “there could be consequences” if workers didn’t come to work on that day.
The National Labor Relations Boards said in a statement that “During two national television news broadcasts and in statements to employees at Walmart stores in California and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests on November 22, 2012.”
In June, Walmart retaliated against several employees who traveled to Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas to protest the company. The preceding month, American Rights at Work-Jobs With Justice released a report containing hundreds of occurrences of “alleged intimidation against activist Walmart employees.”
Some employees, however, are in such fear of retaliation from Walmart, they are simply refuse to speak up or want to protect their identities when they do.
“I do not think I have ever hated any one thing in my life” said an anonymous Walmart employee of his employer. “So why don’t I protest? We call the ‘open door policy,’ in which we are supposed to be able to voice [our] concern to management without fear of reprisal, the ‘out the door’ policy. Complain, get fired. Those protesters will be terminated, or forced to quit. Walmart does not tolerate dissenters.”
Should the NLRB be successful, Walmart would have to rehire the fired workers, give them back pay, and inform employees of their rights.